Blind running cam programs
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  1. #1
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    Default Blind running cam programs

    Hello,
    i was wondering if there are other shops that are working with one person who is programming the whole machinery by cam, and operators who just load the pices and tools into the cnc and running the program blind, without further actions like checking program or simulation, just measurement of critical points and maybe tool wear adjustment.

    this was our goal at +-7yrs ago and now i can say we come along way but still have issues sometimes. i want to check how far other shops are at automatisation of prototypes. becouse on the long way this is what we want to achieve.
    we want to make the best spindle running houres also for small series.
    what kind of cam program you use, how do you give info to operators about tools, clamping, etc

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    In the ideal case, the programmer is responsible for the simulation, and the operator should be able to just load and go. In the real world a lot of shops haven't bought quality gcode simulation software, so there's still some danger. There's also the chance that the operator made a mistake in the setup or that something wasn't communicated clearly on the setup sheet, so in many cases it makes sense for the operator to prove out the program.

    If you have Vericut or equivalent, every single program and change gets run through it, you have clear and thorough setup sheets, and the operators follow them precisely, it shouldn't be a problem. Setup sheets should specify brand and exact part numbers for tools, stickout, exact specific holder, and exact specific workholding. If anything gets substituted you lose consistency and risk a problem.

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    When I read this thread title, I thought you were talking about old-school automatic screw machines, which were of course driven by cams.

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    Don't make the mistake of thinking that the simulation in your CAM software is good enough. If you are simulating your toolpath without reading the g-code then it's just a pretty picture. We use Eureka from Roboris to read our toolpaths and tell us if we have collisions and over-travels.

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  7. #5
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    Aside from the necessary information required for setup and operation, the operator should be able to run programs blind. The reality is that most medium and large shops program their machines offline; especially if it gets complicated. Also it's not uncommon in large production shops to have dedicated set-up personnel so the operators just load and run parts.

    If you have capable software you should be relying on it for collision and gouge checking...Always!!! No matter what level of work you do with software or manually there is always some possibility of human error but if you have to look at G-code then you are wasting time and increasing the possibility of human error. The more you rely on good software the more you lessen the possibility of problems. This is irrefutable fact. If your software's verification is unreliable or doesn't fill your needs then you should look at a 3rd party for a solution such as Vericut. What it comes down to is just like Henry Ford said about machines...If you need a machine and don't buy it, you are making payments on a machine you don't have. Interchange "software" for "machine" and it applies to this thread accurately. Of course there are budgets to consider but if you say you don't have the money in the budget for a better cam system you will still feel the sting of your current software. Not a nice scenario but you have to operate within your means.

    We use a mixture of Siemens NX and Mastercam, and use the built in verification. I mainly use NX and I have zero use for Vericut but I cannot comment about Mastercam. I have been programming and process engineering for over twenty years and I have not had the need to look at my nc files during that time. Everything is programmed offline with the exception of a very small number of simple, boundary profile paths. All setups are detailed in our program documentation for every part and are always available on the network but can be printed out if needed. (Oh, how I loathe paper...) All machine setups exist in the part files and included in the simulations then are documented in the setup docs so there is no possibility of the operator coming up with a setup which will not work. So the shop docs have all the necessary info for the setup guy or operator: program name, specific tool holders, specific cutters and all necessary setup and fixturing information. Some of our work holding is done with System-3R or Schunk which makes setups extremely fast, accurate and consistent which makes a lot less work programmers, setup people and operators.

    Whether you are making a single part or 10,000 you should always verify your programs and time spent doing it is never a bad investment. Look at it this way, if you are making only a single, simple part then verifying will be quick. If you are doing a large complicated part then a little time spent on it will be worth it because the part is relatively expensive. The same goes for a long run of simple parts and is never more necessary then a large run of expensive parts.

    Also, if you want a really good summary of your machining efficiency I recommend keeping an eye on the spindle on-time on every machine. The results may disgust or horrify you. We make money when the machines are running and the more work you have your operators perform, the less spindle on-time you have. Keeping in mind less cut time equals less revenue when planning a job will help keep your process on track and more profitable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by civicske2 View Post
    Hello,
    i was wondering if there are other shops that are working with one person who is programming the whole machinery by cam, and operators who just load the pices and tools into the cnc and running the program blind, without further actions like checking program or simulation, just measurement of critical points and maybe tool wear adjustment.

    this was our goal at +-7yrs ago and now i can say we come along way but still have issues sometimes. i want to check how far other shops are at automatisation of prototypes. becouse on the long way this is what we want to achieve.
    we want to make the best spindle running houres also for small series.
    what kind of cam program you use, how do you give info to operators about tools, clamping, etc
    .
    .
    1) normally one crash makes checking every first run program in single block and rapid and feed over rides to zero so machine dont move and you have a chance to read distance to go screen before moving a priority
    .
    2) more complex expensive machines with bigger complex expensive parts have higher priorities on crash prevention
    .
    3) i also use excel work log to track times, auto average times and record problems and reason for above average times. many a time crash recovery, remaking scrap parts, reworking parts where tooling broke, recutting parts not in tolerance can be biggest time waster. data on last 100 parts made often shows going slower and checking more causes fewer problems and is faster by the end of the year
    .
    4) i try not to jump to quick conclusions but use data and facts to determine what to try next to reduce times. memory not as good as recording facts and data. too often people repeat trying things that didnt work too good the first time and repeat the same mistakes over and over never learning from past mistakes by looking at the facts and data

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    hy everyone, thanks for the nice replys.
    we are now running topsolid with vericut. and most 3and 4axis milling machines.

    i specially like the last reaction bout making a good logfile of what goes wrong and what eats time. i think this is a verry crucial step in making progress to full blind running programs. also the setup documents for the operators are!
    herefor we build the topsolid libraries with the tools, toolholders, cutting conditions etc..
    if some tool does breake we just have to correct the tools cutting conditions to make a step forward in building safe relieble programs.

    now i was wondering how you guys does manage this things, what do you put on the setup document for the operator, if possible some examples would be nice for fine tuning mine.
    we have one document that shows a picture of the stock, machined area, vise and clamping
    and than another with the toollist, programnumber, tooldiameter, tool length and cut length, tool part number and a line for comment.
    also the size of the parallels, depth of clapmping the stock part. all this is made by one click, and loaded from parameters in the cam doc.

    gr

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    possible to give some more info on the excell? how you build it, wat info you store?
    Quote Originally Posted by DMF_TomB View Post
    .
    .
    1) normally one crash makes checking every first run program in single block and rapid and feed over rides to zero so machine dont move and you have a chance to read distance to go screen before moving a priority
    .
    2) more complex expensive machines with bigger complex expensive parts have higher priorities on crash prevention
    .
    3) i also use excel work log to track times, auto average times and record problems and reason for above average times. many a time crash recovery, remaking scrap parts, reworking parts where tooling broke, recutting parts not in tolerance can be biggest time waster. data on last 100 parts made often shows going slower and checking more causes fewer problems and is faster by the end of the year
    .
    4) i try not to jump to quick conclusions but use data and facts to determine what to try next to reduce times. memory not as good as recording facts and data. too often people repeat trying things that didnt work too good the first time and repeat the same mistakes over and over never learning from past mistakes by looking at the facts and data

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    Default

    we are working with topsolid and verycut build in.
    wa pretty close at the blind run thing, but i am Always looking for approvement and finetuning. so now i am at a point i would like to know how others do it.
    we have build in topsolid libraries with tools, toolholders, machines, clamps, cuttingconditions ... and for setup we generate a picture of the machined part and how it is clamped. also we automatic generate a tool list, with toolnumbers, dia, stick out, cutlength, part code,... also the program number, dept of clamping raw piece and measurements of parallels are parameters from cam that are automatic set at the setup doc

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  14. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by civicske2 View Post
    possible to give some more info on the excell? how you build it, wat info you store?
    @civicske2
    If you are serious about collecting valuable data you might consider using a solution such as DataXchange by Scytech. It will pay for itself by eliminating manually entering data and also easily being able to gather all sorts of valuable information which is buried in your machine parameters. Such as a plethora of information in a real-time dashboard as well as downtime tracking and even override tracking. Good software is capable of automatically generating reports with data, graphs and charts and also supports remote monitoring with mobile devices which can also use email and texting for notifications. It's all about automation, civicske2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by civicske2 View Post
    possible to give some more info on the excell? how you build it, wat info you store?
    .
    excel spreadsheet i use many (also use Powerpoint)
    .
    1) work log. whats on it ? what ever i did. its not meant to tell how to do a job but rather you record how you did a job and note any problems, i track time at each M0 and i track total time. excel can do math formulas so it can average times of many previous jobs and track total parts time recorded. so 91 parts done time average 8.8312 hours. at bottom i note if above average times record why. this is used to reduce wasted time on future jobs. i add data as i see a need
    .
    2) startup checklist using excel. anything important to check before starting machine. like a airplane pilot checking the plane before takeoff. hardcopy on clipboard gives me something to record work offset and tool offset data. thus if i change H1 from -.0050 to -.0060 i have record and i record changing it back to -.0050, i also record checking my tool presetter calibration the day and time its checked
    .
    3) setup file. i record setup info and any addition info i find important as i run jobs. i often use Powerpoint as it handles pictures and add text box with arrows is easy
    .
    4) program hardcopy is printout in 3 ring binder book for operator to write in it. info like warnings from previous job runs. i also record feeds and speed changes and reason why name date etc
    .
    5) excel file on jobs done, work order number part number program number start stop and comments name day etc. this for is boss wants to know what i did that day. comments are for noting things like machine problems and other delays and reason why. a place to put message from one shift to another. sometimes at shift change forget to say stuff. by writing down its there for next operator to read. hopefully only take 1 minute per day. so if want to read last 5 days notes and comments between shifts its there and can add a picture if needed to comments.
    .
    bigger parts and bigger machines you do things different than if your making 1000 $5 parts


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